Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ride to Conquer Cancer - Vancouver to Seattle

June 18 and 19 was the "Bike Ride to Conquer Cancer" - a 240 K trek starting in Surrey BC and ending near Seattle Washington. This is only the 3rd year for this event but it is fast picking up participants and status as a premier fund raiser: 2900 riders raised 11.1 million dollars! Not bad for the third year of a new event.......

The first year it was held, my darling wife Annette was planning on participating but she took ill with the very thing the fund raiser is for. Last year she was training for the ride although she was still suffering the effects of the treatments, and she had a nasty tumble off her bike and broke her wrist just weeks before the ride. As she had already raised all the funds for her entry fee, and as her friend Connie was going to ride with her, Annette decided to help out in other ways and went as a crew member. Needless to say, after missing the event for two years in a row she was rather disappointed.

Annette promised she would go this year no matter what, a bold statement as she is suffering still from the treatments. Many of you know that, as much good as the treatments do, you can't bombard the human body with that kind of abuse with out something being affected. In Annette's case it was her ability to walk properly; you gotta wonder if she can't walk with out pain, how is she going to ride 240k?

Well, as luck would have it, riding is a bit easier on the body than walking, so it was possible providing she could handle the pain. Annette and some of her lady friends from the gym got together, added a gentleman co-worker of one of the ladies, and Connie's husband Larry opted to ride unofficially again this year, same as he did last year when Annette was unable to ride. Me, I was the official shadow; I followed along in the truck and took video when I could to record their achievment. Hey, somebody had to take the video and I was the only person who owned a camcorder!  :)

They fund raised the necessary monies and trained when they could on weekends and nights; the final ride they did was 70 miles, about the same distance as the days of the ride itself.

So, fast forward to Saturday June 18, and after a nice week of sunshine, they assembled in Cloverdale in the pouring rain! Not a nice way to start the ride ...they were cold and wet before the ride even started.
But full of enthusiasm, off they went on their great endeavour.

The first night's stop was in Mt. Vernon, the riverside park was full of blue tents for those that opted to spend the night on site. Many more, us included, choice to get a good nights sleep and camped out in one of the local hotels where the riders could at least try to dry out their gear overnight.

Sunday morning was marginally better than Saturday morning - instead of pouring rain it was a steady drizzle that got you just as wet. Still, the riders would not be deterred and off they went aiming for the finish line in Redmond. Another long day of country roads and hills...big hills.....more hills than the first day....and the end was within reach before you knew it!

I raced ahead of Annette and her team members and managed to catch Annette, Connie, and Larry as they came across the finish line. Annette was overcome with emotion and shed a few tears - so did I. Annette was so happy to be able to do the ride to not only raise funds for others, but to attain her goal of completing the arduous task of riding all that way. I am so proud of her, the determination and guts she showed to make it to the finish knowing all the time that she'll pay for it for days.....it just blows me away.

Here's a video I made of the ride - you can also view it on my YouTube channel by clicking on the link at the bottom of the left column on the page.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Aeroskobing in Denmark

Where the heck has Ed been? No activity on his blog for a long time.....well, the answer is.....Europe! Just got back a few days ago from a combination holiday of one week driving from Belgium to Denmark, and then a second week of cruising in the Baltic Sea visiting Talin, Estonia; St. Petersberg, Russia; Stockholm, Sweden; Helsinki, Finland: and Copenhagen, Denmark. I'll have a lot more to write about later.

In the meantime, here is a short video I threw together of our visit to the Island of Aeros in Denmark, and the city of Aeroskobing on the island where our Father's father lived. The hamlet of Dunkaer, the church and graveyard at Risemark, and the area around Little Rise all are pictured here, as is the town of Aeroskobing. All are touchstones in our family's heritage, especially Aeroskobing; I was able to stand in the doorway of 18 Vestergarde, where my grandfather lived, and walked down the same cobblestone lined streets that my relatives did. That was pretty cool!